You are here > Home > News & Events > NEC Reports

The NEC Reports

'The Presidents Blog'

SNU President Minister David Bruton

NEC Meeting - Friday 12th June to Sunday 14th June 2015

 

The President's Blog was established with the aim of keeping members fully updated about the work of the National Executive Committee (NEC) and developments which affect the Union and the wider movement.

Much of the work of the NEC is by its very nature confidential but every effort will be made to keep members up to date where appropriate.

 

 

New Hymn Book and CD
Work is well underway for the new hymn/song book and CD, which includes a range of modern songs with music specially arranged and recorded for the SNU. This will support Churches which wish to add a wider variety to the music and lyrics used within their services. It is hoped to complete this project in the autumn and then copies will be available from Head Office.

 

Proxy Voting at the AGM
Following changes to company law the Union will this year extend proxy voting at the AGM to Individual Members. Members unable to attend the meeting will have the choice of nominating another Individual Member to act as their proxy or, alternatively, placing their voting rights with the Chairman of the meeting. The member will have the option in both cases of instructing the proxy how to cast his vote. The necessary forms will be included in the Annual General Meeting circulation and in both cases the form must be returned to Head Office 48 hours before the start of the meeting. The Elective Auditors will take full control of all proxy forms and full confidentiality will be accorded to each member choosing to appoint a proxy to vote on his behalf. Once a form has been lodged with Head Office an Individual Member has the right to still attend the meeting in person but he will be unable to cast an individual vote over and above the proxy he has already lodged with Head Office. Every Individual Member can act as proxy for only one person.

 

Special Offer for Healers over 70
Many Healers will be aware that in April this year, when the Healers' renewal became due, Healers over 70 years of age had their healing fees waived, leaving them to pay only the insurance part of their renewal. The NEC has discussed the possibility of extending this year's promotion and the matter will be raised at the AGM to allow members to have input before the final decision is made.

 

UK Healers
A meeting has taken place between representatives of the SNU and UK Healers with a view to create a larger meeting between UK Healers, the SNU, the Confederation of Healing Organisations and the British Alliance of Healing Associations to consider the future of healing in the UK; this is still at a very early stage of development but the NEC consider it worthwhile to pursue this opportunity.

 

Training Day for Support Officers
The first Training Day has been planned and will be delivered in the autumn; this event is by invitation only and the feasibility of offering additional events is under consideration.

 

Church Charity Registration
To date 71 applications have been registered and it is proposed to send out a reminder to Churches in the post-AGM circulation in September. Churches will then have until 30th November to submit their necessary documentation to the Union, which will conduct the registration with the Charity Commission on their behalf.

 

Church Returns
Most Churches have now completed their Annual Church Return forms, which were due back in January and May respectively; reminders have now gone out to the Churches still outstanding and Committees are requested to ensure that their Returns have been sent off. Any Church in need of help in completing the Return should in the first instance contact Redwoods.

 

SNU Education Courses on CD
The Union has now taken delivery of the first course produced on an audio CD to help people with learning difficulties; in all, it is hoped to issue four basic level courses in this format and then, depending upon the demand, consideration will be given to extending this scheme to other courses in the future.

 

Interfaith Network Governance
At its last meeting the NEC considered a range of proposals for updating the constitution of the IFN, which we joined in September 2014. Minister David Hopkins and the President will attend a consultative meeting in early June to make representations to the IFN on behalf of the Union. Churches are reminded that this year Interfaith Week takes place between 15th and 21st November. A special service will be held at The Arthur Findlay College and further details will be issued shortly.

 

Religious Education Council
In May the Union was informed that its application to join the RE Council had been successful. The teaching of Religious Education in Schools is coming under increasing pressure owing to changes in how schools deliver our children’s education; given the work we have done recently with the Curriculum project it was felt important that Spiritualism should be represented and our pack has recently been delivered to all RE Council regional resource centres, providing an extra source for teachers to our work. Work will also begin shortly to consider the feasibility of creating a sub-domain of the SNU website specially for youngsters who are interested in learning more about Spiritualism.

 

Church External Makeover Competition
The competition allowing Churches to win a first prize of a £2,000 makeover, which will include new external signage, is due to close on 25th June, so there is still just time for you to get your application into Head Office. The Finance Committee will judge the entries at its next meeting on 7th July and the winners will be announced at the AGM.

 

G2 withdrawn for Ministers Training
The NEC have agreed to withdraw the requirement for trainee Ministers to study the G2 course and a new course is currently under development reflecting the pastoral nature of a Minister's work, to be known as the Pastoral Care Course.

 

The Ministers Administration Committee (MAC) has also recently issued a new prayer card for prisoners, which will be provided to support the work of the Ministry in UK prisons. MAC now reports a presence in 34 prisons around the country and our ministry in the prisons is an increasingly important part of our work.

 

MAC is currently underway with writing a range of new services for use in SNU Churches and it is hoped to be able to provide 12 services in total as a resource to be used when a Church finds itself without the services of a medium or to celebrate a particular event. A new service for each of the Seven Principles is part of this development and it is hoped it will encourage Church congregations to see the importance of the philosophy of Spiritualism and allow Churches to inject some variety into the delivery of their services to the wider public.

 

CPPD

The third CPPD weekend was held at Darlington Church and the event went very well; MAC has recommended that CPPD is repeated every three years but because of the planned celebration in 2018 our next CPPD will take place in 2017. Any Ministers who have not yet registered for this year's CPPD should contact Minister Jeanette Cookson, Secretary to MAC, without delay.

 

Ministers' Guidelines
A new publication, ‘Ministers' Guidelines’, is nearing completion and will be sent to all Ministers and Officiants electronically to reduce the costs of printing and postage.

 

Bereavement Leaflet
A new addition to the SNU suite of leaflets has now been agreed to help give guidance to those dealing with bereavement; this will be printed and will be available at the AGM in July.

 

MAC Cards
A range of specially designed greetings cards has been published for Services of Acceptance and Ordination; these will be on sale at all MAC events and at the College Shop, Redwoods and the SNU AGM.

 

SNUi Test Assessment
SNUi have now completed a test assessment conducted on-line; despite one or two teething problems the Committee are going to progress with this method of assessment for the future.

 

Meet the NEC
Following the holding of the second 'Meet the NEC' meeting in Salford in May the revised list of agreed dates is included below. The NEC still wait to be advised of a date from the Southern District and the agreed venues for other districts.

 

Following the meeting in Manchester it has been agreed that Head Office will manage all publicity for the meetings and posters and invitations will go to every Church in the District. A resource pack has also been developed to support the delivery of the day so that each district will have a structure for the day related to that delivered in every other DC.

 

    District Date / Venue
  • West Midlands 17th January, Stafford
  • Manchester 16th May, Salford
  • South Wales 27th June
  • East London 25th July
  • Northern 8th August, North Shields
  • North Lancs & Cumbria 15th August
  • Scottish & Irish 29th August
  • South Western 5th September
  • South Yorkshire 12th September, Sheffield Attercliffe
  • North Yorkshire 26th September
  • East Midlands 7th November
  • Merseyside & North Wales 21st November
  • West London 31st October
  • Southern TBA

 

BBC World Service Interview
As part of Open Week and the Arthur Findlay College a journalist from the BBC World Service attended and conducted a two-hour interview with the President, Vice-President (Administrative) and Minister Simone Key. As a result an eight-minute slot was recently featured on the World Service, which has upwards of 42 million listeners worldwide, providing the Union with another opportunity to bring Spiritualism to people around the world. The link to the interview will be available from the SNU website.

 

Changes to SNU Committees
The NEC has agreed to disband the Information Technology Committee; Chris James will remain in post as a consultant and the Publicity & Promotions Committee will recruit a new member to handle the Union's presence on Facebook. It has also been agreed that a new Collegiate Committee will be created, which will be charged with overseeing the running of both the Arthur Findlay College and the Arthur Findlay Centre; this will replace both the College and Centre Management Committees.

 

Glyn Edwards CSNU
The Union is sad to report the passing to spirit of Glyn Edwards CSNU after a period of illness. Glyn worked for Spiritualism for many years and was a well-respected tutor and medium, working to raise the profile of Spiritualism. Glyn’s private family funeral took place in Milton Keynes on 12th June; the President represented the Union at this service. Glyn was made an honorary member of the SNU earlier this year and it is planned to hold a special service to celebrate Glyn’s life at the College very shortly.

 

Hazel Goodwin
The Union is sad to announce the passing to spirit of Hazel Goodwin, sister to Gordon Higginson. The President attended the funeral service to represent the Union, which was held for Hazel in Stoke-on-Trent and taken by Paul Jacobs CSNU.

 

Peace Service 2015
The Annual Peace Service and Peace Walk will be held at the National Memorial Arboretum again this year on Saturday 4th July, commencing at 2.00 p.m. Churches are encouraged to also hold their own Peace Service on Sunday 5th July and an order of service is provided from the website to help Churches plan this special event. In addition to this a national Peace Service will be held at Castleford Church, North Yorkshire, which will be broadcast live via SNUi. Minister Judith Seaman, Minister Alan Rawnsley and Minister Janet Parker will conduct the service, which in future years will be moved around the country, allowing different Churches to host the event.

 

IT & New Portal for the College and Centre
Work is still underway to create a new website for the Arthur Findlay College and Centre and to create a new E-shop, allowing all Union and College books and goods to be purchased via the internet.

 

The NEC also considered an update and proposed timetable for OOMI, the latest version of the Union central database, which it is hoped will go live later this year. The new system is web-based and will considerably improve the Union's functionality around its data management and website maintenance. Chris James will shortly conduct training with James Frid, our Print Technician, so that website updates and maintenance can now be delivered from Head Office. Chris will retain his strategic role for managing the website.

 

Individual Member Questionnaire
A short questionnaire has been developed to allow Individual Members to have their say on the Union and its future; the questionnaire was piloted during Open Week at Stansted and following some refinements will be issued first to one District Council area.

 

Open Week / Open Weekend
Open Week held at the College in May proved to be very successful, with over 1,700 people visiting the College over the four days of the event. Gordon Smith was a popular special guest for the weekend and a special charity fundraising demonstration was held on the Saturday evening, which raised £2,400 for the Dogs Trust, one of Gordon’s favourite charities. Concern was raised by one or two people concerning the access to sessions and queuing caused by the number of people in attendance over the weekend; the Arthur Findlay College Committee has agreed to look at this when planning for Open Week 2016.

 

Open Weekend at the Arthur Findlay Centre was held in early June and over 120 people attended during the Saturday event and 50 people on the Sunday; overall, the event was well received and plans are already underway for next year's event.

 

New Pricing Scheme for the Centre
The Arthur Findlay Centre has agreed to reduce its day rate for students attending its courses from £45 per day to £38 per day with immediate effect. The day rate includes lunch and refreshments throughout the day, making a course at the Centre even better value for money.

 

The Sanctuary refurbishment
Work is well underway which will see the Sanctuary at the College transformed and decorated with new carpet and a new lighting and sound system installed to enhance the experience of students and the public alike when visiting the College.

 

Protocol for Physical Sťances
As the development work around the protocol continues the NEC have now agreed to remove the provision for external monitoring during the sitting.

 

Council Members to discuss AGM Motions
It has been agreed to hold a teleconference to allow members of the Council to discuss the motions for the forthcoming AGM and mandate their representative accordingly.

 

Appointment of Auditors
The NEC have agreed to ask permission of members in general meeting to appoint the auditors. Baker Tilly have audited the Union's accounts for many years and it is felt by the trustees that they have a duty to review this appointment to ensure we are getting the best service and value for money from our auditors. A motion will be proposed at the AGM.

 

Annual General Meeting 2015
This year's AGM will take place at the Marriott Hotel, Gosforth Park, Newcastle and the Northern District Council are looking forward to hosting this our 113th meeting of members. Some limited availability is still available and any member or Church wishing to attend the meeting should speak to the SNU Trust Office without delay on 01279 814158.

 

Spiritualist of the Year 2015
The NEC considered all the submissions for this year's award and have agreed the recipient, which will be announced at the AGM; given the representation this year and the many strong candidates the Union has agreed to create a Special Endeavour Award, which will be presented as part of this category to recognise the considerable good works and dedication of people within the Union.

 

500 Club
Any member or Church or non-member wishing to join the scheme with a chance to win some excellent prizes with a top prize of £500 should contact Claire Shores at the Members Service Centre. The odds of winning a prize are 14 to 1, which is better than the National Lottery.

 

Next NEC Meeting
The next meeting of the NEC will take place at the Marriott Hotel, Gosforth Park, Newcastle on Friday 17th July. The next National Council meeting will take place at the Arthur Findlay Centre on Saturday 3rd October 2015.

 

Have your say - As part of an ongoing policy of openness the NEC would welcome your views: please feel free to email your comments to me: president@snu.org.uk

 

 

Thought for the day:

"Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore."

- Andre Gide

 

 

  - Minister David Bruton

 

Q&A's

If you have any question for the SNU President please email:
president@snu.org.uk